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First Half of the First Chapter in “The Culmination”

March 27, 2013

It’s been some time since I’ve been on here and they say that’s a naughty thing for an inspiring writer. I say it’s a naughty thing to spend too much time on a blog when you can be writing real shit instead. Whatever. Here’s a glimpse of some of the first chapter of “The Culmination”, which is the sequel to “The Origins of Disgust, Self-Hatred, and Hostility”.

CHAPTER ONE
BEGINNINGS AND ENDINGS

I never checked back in to the treatment facility after I found Charlene dead. All I did was wipe my fingerprints off the motel window and then collect her journals or any other documents implicating our relationship so I could destroy them. I had planned on cleaning her off, soap and all, but the police weren’t going to do a full investigation anyway. Not over a junkie. Not over a street prostitute.
There would be no funeral for Charlene. There would be no one to see and hear me deliver a eulogy that expressed how important she was to me. She made every single day a thousand times better than it ever could have been. I didn’t care about her status in society and she didn’t care about mine. She was an amazing, loving, caring woman who had to make too many serious decisions at too young of an age. I was lucky to have known her and blessed to have loved her. The closest form of ceremony for her death was me, crying alone, down by the sewers while I burned her journals and other papers.
I left the ashes to blow away in the wind, set up an impromptu crash spot, buried the majority of my money, and went on a bender to end all benders. I drank myself to the outer limits of oblivion which led me right back to the needle and spoon. Within a week, I was shooting up so much dope at a time that I was practically hand writing an invitation for the reaper to pay me a visit.
Three weeks into my drug/booze spree, I overdosed on heroin. Minutes after I lost consciousness, someone looking for their dog found me at my crash spot sprawled out on my back and unresponsive. I awoke in the emergency room after the doctors filled my veins with adrenaline to bring me out of my drug-induced coma. They lectured me on my behaviors, gave me some pamphlets, and sent me on my way. The pamphlets went in the trash and I went to Vibora to get more heroin. Only this time, he wanted to know why I wasn’t with Charlene.
“So, I haven’t seen you with Charlene lately. You two still together?” Vibora asks. A new runaway guards the dope-filled ratty purse.
“Nah. We’re not together anymore,” I say.
“That’s too bad, ese. You two seemed really happy together. Made a good couple. Come to think of it, I haven’t seen her around at all. How long you been split up?”
The last time Charlene and I were together in Vibora’s presence was relatively soon after I strangled Theo. “A couple months or longer. Basically, a few days after you saw us together last.” I focus my lying eyes on the ground to keep them out of Vibora’s sight.
“No shit, ese? You guys seemed all happy and shit. What was her reason?”
I never picked Vibora to notice anything about someone’s romantic life, let alone to be such a nosy drug dealer. “It just didn’t work out.” I need this conversation to end now. “So, I’m just gonna get my regular amount.” Vibora gives a hand signal to the new purse guardian. I shake hands with her and we exchange money and dope.
“That’s rough about you and Charlene. But what can you do, ya know?”
I inch away from Vibora as I answer his rhetorical small talk. “Not a whole lot.” I follow up with a valid reason to leave. “OK, man, don’t wanna linger with product on me.” I give Vibora a cheap salutation over my shoulder. “See ya soon.”
The next morning, after a lot of contemplation, I packed the few belongings I had in order to check myself back in to the treatment center I walked away from a couple months ago. Before my feet hit the pavement, I decided against it because I knew they would ask about Charlene. There was a different treatment center on the other side of town and I hoofed it there instead. Once I got there, I stood on the curb for a good thirty minutes, and went back to my crash spot.
Part of getting clean, and staying clean, requires one to confront, and talk about, all of their demons. For most addicts, the worst that gets is revealing the lows they dipped to in order to pay for dope or the friends they watched overdose. My demons involved murder. Even worse, I murdered a rich man–an important man–a man that people could profit from by turning me in.
I left my devil child business to fall apart when I entered the treatment center with Charlene months ago. I didn’t contact anyone; not Barry, not my actors, nobody. For all I knew, it could have still been going on under one of my minion’s directions. If it was, they were either in deep shit, or a few days away from it. That operation was a ticking time bomb waiting to blow up in the faces of everyone involved, just like it blew up in mine.
So there I was with nowhere to go, and far worse, no one to turn to. I longed for Charlene. Shame, regret, and depression were eating me alive. I didn’t want to be anyone, feel anything, or think about anything. Fortunately, I was in a position to fulfill my apathetic desires. The money made it possible for me to not have to be anyone and the dope, and, or booze made it possible to not think about anything or feel anything.
In addition to being constantly intoxicated, I stopped shaving and infrequently bathed. My toothbrush became a neglected tool and doing laundry was a chore of the past. I slept in my fly-by-night crash spot I built the first night after Charlene’s death or wherever I passed out from countless hours of drinking or doing dope. I lived like this for a little over a year.

Late in September of 1989, just a few days shy of my 22nd birthday, its Friday afternoon rush hour and downtown is as busy as it gets. I’m low on dope so I give Vibora a visit. The freeway underpass is filled with its usual population of society’s forsaken. I fit right in. I’m one of those bearded, faceless, homeless guys you see downtown that could be next to anyone behind the hair, dirt, and soiled clothes. The only identifying features we carry are a pair of eyes and a nose. Recognizing us from one another, aside from the color of our hair and our height, is next to impossible. Well, at least for most people.
I get my regular amount of dope from Vibora and as I’m leaving a stretch limousine slows to a stop amongst the other cars waiting to get on the freeway. My reflection in the tint of the passenger’s side window stops me in my tracks. Grimy and aged, I stand there to take in the saddening view.
A window near the end of the limo rolls down while I continue to gaze in astonishment at what I’ve become. A young man who now looks like an old man. My concentration snaps when my name is called out from the open window of the limo.
“Mikey! Mikey, is that you?” It’s Jimmy. I ignore him like he spotted the wrong person.
A bunch of voices bounce back and forth in the limo but only one female voice is audible. “What are you doing, Jimmy?”
“I gotta take care of something.” Jimmy opens the door and his long legs plant down on the street. I don’t want to see him and I don’t want him to see me so I scamper away.
The female in the limo echoes through the underpass. “Get back in, Jimmy! The light’s turning green!”
“Sorry, gotta go!” Jimmy slams the limo door behind him. I run down the sidewalk to escape him but he runs after me. “Mikey! Wait up! Wait up!” I underestimated Jimmy’s desire to pursue me and we both know there is no way I’m going to outrun him. I need to take some drastic actions.
I sprint down an alley and burst through a residence’s side fence and into their backyard. My plan is to hop the back fence which border a small embankment that runs along the freeway. My thinking is that he’ll give up due to my frantic route. If not, I might be able to give him the slip along the freeway somehow.
Jimmy’s pace is closing in on me as I run to the back fence. I strain to get my breaths deeper into my chest. Pain radiates over the top of my diaphragm each time I pull in air but I’m determined to lose him. I scale the back fence like an old pro and land half-way down the embankment. Jimmy’s feet hit the pavement behind me a second after mine do. Trapped between Jimmy and the southbound freeway, I have one last hope to get away.
I improvise a new goal of crossing all four lanes of the southbound interstate so that I can jump down into the canyon that separates the opposing freeway. I step out onto the slow lane. In a real life game of “Frogger”, a car in the second lane roars past pushing a gust of wind into me.
Jimmy stands in bewilderment on the side of the freeway. “Dude, what the fuck are you doing?!” His voice fades behind me into the noise of the traffic as I continue my crossing. I hop into the second lane and then sprint into the third which becomes occupied by a vehicle out of thin air. The car blares its horn and swerves into the second lane to avoid careening into me. The fast lane in front of me has a line of cars blazing down its path a few hundred feet to the north. I have no choice but to be the sole contestant in a risky race against time to get to the other side.
I run like hell through the 12 foot width of the fast lane but it feels like a million feet wide. The driver in the lead car bearing down on me slams on its brakes. Its halt is followed by a chorus of screeching rubber from the cars behind it. Smoke from at least 20 tires locking on the interstate’s pavement fills the air.
I leap over the concrete freeway shoulder in the nick of time. I have so much speed behind me that I land a quarter of the way down the precipitous canyon wall covered in ice plant. Although the thick foliage’s cushioning absorbs my impact, my shoes tear the plant open and expose its gooey innards. My heels slip on the fresh, sticky liquid and shoot out from under me. I land on my ass, thrust my upper body forward, and somersault down the undergrowth for a few revolutions until I reach the bottom of the canyon.
Sweating up a storm, the dirt on my face turns to a stinging film of mud that washes over my eyes. Gasping for air, physically decimated, and dripping beads of dark brown, muck-filled sweat, I keep running through the canyon. I finally reach the storm drain and disappear into the safety of its darkness where I collapse.
While regaining my breath in the sewer, I question why I ran from Jimmy in the first place. Maybe I was ashamed. Maybe I didn’t want to answer all the questions he would have had for me. Maybe I didn’t want to burden his life with mine. Whatever my reason was, I could only hope that he would come to the conclusion that he had mistaken me for some crazy man and not come looking for me again.

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From → Excerpts

2 Comments
  1. Great work. I look forward to the rest.

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